Harvard Lawsuit: What did we learn?
What did we learn from the Harvard lawsuit? Not much that we didn’t know before – that there are very real stereotypes and discrimination at play, that the college admissions process isn’t perfect, and that the percentage of students based on their ethnicity does not change much from year to year. This can only mean that race still plays a factor in admissions, legacies get a boost, and athletes continue to be highly recruited if you can perform at that level.
The personality score was a big point of contention in the Harvard lawsuit – how do you determine or rate an applicant’s personality? The metrics for determining that weren’t completely clear, neither was their academic rubric of what qualified as a top applicant vs an above average one. But like we said, college admissions in America was never a perfect black and white process (as in, you get a high enough score and you get in), unlike colleges in Asia or Europe.
But what did you expect? The system is inherently flawed in the first place, and college admissions in America has evolved into a game of strategy that would make you “different” enough and “unique” enough to earn a spot at these coveted institutions. And playing those buttons, every one of which I am well grounded in, will increase your odds of acceptance.
Going forward, we don’t expect much to change. These higher institutions of education, while they certainly attract the world’s brightest applicants, do so in large part because of their sense of exclusivity. Peter Thiel once stated investment banking/management consulting, as well as Ivy League institutions, are like studio night clubs – there’s a long line outside and everyone wants to get in, but only a few are standing inside. And once you get inside, you realize it wasn’t anything that mesmerizing.
Which, of course, led to the founding of the Thiel Fellowship to inspire students to learn and build things without a college degree – a new idea that transcends the traditional path to success. There are pros and cons to this approach (after all, Thiel did attend Stanford), but it certainly forces us to question to whether a college degree in the end is really what people make it out to believe.